Report Overstates Impact of Florida Retention Policy, Review Finds


October 10, 2006

For Immediate Release


Contact: Teri Battaglieri, Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice

(248)444-7071 (e-mail)

Derek Briggs,
University of Colorado at Boulder

(303)492-6320 (e-mail)


EAST LANSING, Mich. (Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2006) — A recent Manhattan Institute report which concludes that Florida’s policy of retaining third-grade students based on their scores on a standardized reading test has helped them to improve their reading overstates the effect of retention on student achievement according to a Think Twice review of the report by Derek Briggs of University of Colorado.


The report, “Getting Farther Ahead by Staying Behind: A Second-Year Evaluation of Florida’s Policy to End Social Promotion,” by Jay Greene and Marcus Winters reaches findings that “are best described as suggestive and merit further investigation” according to Briggs.  In his review, he points out some principal shortcomings which undermine the validity of the report’s conclusions:





On the issue of other interventions that accompany retention, Briggs says that because Greene and Winters do not isolate effects of retention from those of summer school and intensive reading instruction, it is very difficult to conclude whether retention itself had a positive or negative effect.


The report is a follow-up to a 2005 report by Greene and Winters which evaluated the first year of the Florida retention policy. This report was analyzed in a Think Twice review by Ed Wiley who was critical of the report’s methods and findings.


Find the 2006 Manhattan Institute report and its review by Derek Briggs and the 2005 report and its review by Ed Wiley at:


The Think Twice project provides the public, policy makers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected think tank publications. It is a collaboration of the Education Policy Studies Laboratory at Arizona State University and the Education and the Public Interest Center at the University of Colorado and is funded by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.



The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice is to identify, develop, support, publish and widely disseminate empirically sound research on education policy and practices designed to improve the quality of public education for all students within the Great Lakes Region. 

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